A leading hypothesis is that the virus emerged from animals at a popular market in Wuhan. This is not a surprise for many experts because it’s happened before. In 2003, a virus very similar to SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a market in Foshan, China. It caused the SARS disease, which spread to dozens of countries and killed nearly 800 people. As of March 6, SARS-CoV-2 has reached 83 countries and has killed more than 3,400 people, most of them in China.
The similarities between the two viruses raises the question: Why do new diseases keep emerging from China?